As MMD youths, we were shocked when he we heard in Parliament last week that the PF government has started constructing two transit homes for in-coming and outgoing Presidents or their Spouses.
We were shocked because the construction of these two houses was another example of misplaced priorities by the government. We are opposed to this development because this project was not budgeted for in the national budget.
In the spirit of transparency, we challenge government to disclose how much each house would cost and which budget line will this project draw from and which contractor (s) is working on the project and how these tenders were selected.
This government is running the highest budget deficit in the country’s history since the 1970s and we find it difficult to understand why this government is now embarking on constructing these transit homes which constitutes unnecessary expenditure.
We say this because the Government of the Republic of Zambia already owns high end properties which can be used in transitory arrangements for those heading into or coming out of State House.
We have in mind State Lodge in New Kasama which other former Presidents used as a holiday resort.
We also have the Ndeke Presidential Guest House in Kitwe which has undergone extensive renovations. We also have the Kabelenga Guest House in Ndola and the presidential guest house in Luanshya and several others dotted across the country.
We know that the contract entered into with Reedbuck Lodge in Kabulonga amounts to plunder of national resources. We therefore appeal to the Office of the Auditor General to audit the Reedbuck contract. We suspect that some unscrupulous officials at Cabinet Office flouted public procurement laws to award the contract to Reedbuck Lodge.
No one in their right sense of mind can justify the hefty amounts paid to the owners of Reedbuck Lodge especially that these are public resources.
We are also gobsmacked that Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Rolland Msiska negated his role as a key adviser to government and allowed this abuse of public resources to go on from January to June.
We believe that Dr Msiska is paid a good salary and allowances to provide strategic advice to President Lungu’s government. The Reedbuck scandal has confirmed that Dr Msiska is incompetent and does not mean well for President Lungu’s administration.
We are further appalled that Dr Msiska has decided to accommodate former First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba at House No. 29B Mutende Road, Woodlands after the current occupant World Bank Country Director Khundavi Kadiresan vacates the house tomorrow, Tuesday.
Our advice to government is that by shifting Dr Kaseba into House No. 29B Mutende Road, Woodlands, they will be simply shifting problems and resolving none.
We know that President Lungu means well but we also know that there are some officers in Government who are working to tarnish his image by making incompetent decisions.
We believe that the permanent solution to this misuse of public resources is to doing away with the Benefits of Former Presidents Act. It is unbelievable that a poor nation like ours can appropriate meagre resources to maintaining lifestyles of their former Presidents and their families for life.
We appeal to Justice Minister Dr Ngosa Simbyakula to bring a Bill to Parliament to repeal this bad law even if it was enacted by the MMD government.
OFFICE OF THE MMD NATIONAL YOUTH SECRETARY
Contact: Bowman Lusambo
National Youth Secretary